When we think about wine pairing, Korean food isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, the only type of alcohol that’s associated with Korean cuisine, in most Malaysian’s mind, is soju and nothing else, not even beer.
So you could say that I was a little bit intrigued by what’s in store for us when I was invited to a wine/cocktail pairing dinner at Bulgogi Brothers.
Bulgogi Brothers at Paradigm Mall
Bulgogi Brothers is a pretty big chain of Korean restaurants that has its presence in Korea, the Philippines, Canada, and Malaysia. There are currently four branches located at Paradigm Mall (this review), Pavilion KL, Mid Valley Megamall, and e@Curve.
The one key difference between Bulgogi Brothers and most other Korean restaurants is that they are pork free.
banchan, including kimchi, lotus roots and even kangkung
Like pretty much all Korean dinners, we were served several dishes of banchan, or small Korean dishes to start.
The variety isn’t fantastic, there’s a bowl of corn, sweet potato & edamame, then there’s kimchi, lotus roots, and a few types of vegetables. They tastes alright, but if you expect to have a dozen different types of banchan like it is often served at other Korean places, you will be disappointed.
makguli goes well with haemul pajeon (Korean pancake), spicy chicken maekjeok
Our first real dish of the night was haemul pajeon, or Korean seafood pancake (RM 27.90). The pancake is packed with ingredients such as prawns, mussels, squid, and green onions. It wasn’t too thick nor soggy, and I thought it was done very nicely.
We had makguli cocktail, the milky Korean rice wine with strawberry puree to go with it. The wine is unfiltered and made from fermented rice, wheat, and water. I would describe it to be like a powered up vitagen, tasty!
The makguli is priced at RM 25 per bottle, and a jug of makguli cocktail at RM 27.90.
soju needs no introduction, the corn soup was creamy and delicious
Next up was soju and paired with spicy chicken maekjeok (RM 20.90). The chicken on skewer is not entirely unlike our satey but carries a slight tangy, sweet, and spicy taste to it. The dark meat is soft and juicy, and the stronger taste of meat goes well with the clean and natural taste of soju.
The soju is served chilled, RM 19.90 per bottle (Chum Churum brand), or if you prefer, in a sort of Korean mojitocalled soji-to at RM 14.90 per glass.
Bulgogi Brothers also served us a bowl of thick and creamy corn soup that was beautiful.
galbi kkotsal – boneless marinated beef short ribs
No Korean meal is complete without some good old fashion Korean BBQ.
Our galbi kkotsal (RM 72.90), or boneless beef short ribs marinated in special bulgogi sauce, came with a bit over a dozen pieces of meat, garlic, onion, and mushroom. In comparison with other places, the price is on the high side, and according to our host, this is due to the better cut of beef chosen.
I thought it was perhaps just a bit too sanitized and didn’t taste quite as flavorful as other places. It was decent nonetheless, but at over RM 70, one might think twice choosing this from the menu. It went well with soju, however.
bulgogi brothers special with black raspberry wine
Next up was Bulgogi Brothers Special (RM 81.90), a combination of Unyang and Gwangyang-style bulgogi. In another word, beef patties and thinly sliced beef, with the latter fried in combination with green onion and garlic.
The beef were pretty juicy and not lacking in flavor, portion wise this dish isn’t too bad either. The pairing was a bottle of wine made from black raspberries and plums, very sweet and absolutely delightful, the type of wine that is perhaps more appropriate for dessert, but I’m not complaining. It was delightful.
The wine was Bokbunjajoo and priced at RM 58.50 per bottle.
chicken bibimbap, KY, Haze, Hitomi, Marcus
Our last item in the tasting menu was chicken bibimbap (RM 26.90), a popular Korean dish with meat, vegetable, and a raw egg all mixed together in a stone bowl. I never quite find a taste for bibimbap and this experience did not change my mind. Others said it was perhaps a tad too dry, I’m not qualified to comment though, I didn’t like it.
In conclusion, I think the ambiance and dining experience in Bulgogi Brothers is certainly on par with some of the nicer restaurants, food wise it isn’t exactly top notch, but if you have a taste for some Korean alcohol experience or if you’re looking for a decent pork-free Korean restaurant, this chain isn’t a bad place to start.
The Boulevard, Paradigm Mall
Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.108806, 101.59564
Tel: 03-7886 3543
Dae Jang Gum Korean restaurant was actually one of the first Korean BBQ restaurants that I visited some 7-8 years ago. It was always under my impression that I’ve already written a review on it, but that was obviously not the case. Better late than never, so here goes.
Dae Jang Gum Korean BBQ at Seksyen 14, Petaling Jaya
Situated at the other end of the same building that includes Digital Mall in Petaling Jaya, Dae Jang Gum is a pretty old establishment. I suspect that the restaurant probably looked the same when it first opened for business years ago.
The decoration is dated, tables and chairs are old, but at least those BBQ vents still works very well. Then again, we’re here for food, right?
good variety of banchan, and their kimchi jiggae is one of the best
Like most Korean BBQ restaurants, there’s quite a selection of different types and cuts of meat available to choose from (minimum order of 2 servings per table to start the grill).
We chose Dae Ji Mok Sal (grilled pork neck, RM 28) and Bul Galbi (marinated beef spare ribs, RM 62) for the grill, and 2 bowls of kimchi jiggae (kimchi soup) for the four of us.
Service is pretty decent right here, and we were served about a dozen different types of banchan (small Korean dishes) within minutes.
grilled pork neck, fresh and unseasoned
The kimchi soup is really the reason we come here for. They are the thickest and most flavorful kimchi soup that I’ve had in a restaurant (the only thicker version is when we cook it at home). The spicy broth goes very well with the steamed rice provided, and that thick, almost-overpowering aroma and taste, superb!
Grilled pork neck doesn’t taste too different from pork belly, the dipping “sauce” is basically sesame oil with salt and goes well with the meat. Optionally, you can wrap it in a piece of lettuce before chewing em down. Flavor isn’t exactly intense, so if you want something stronger, other marinated versions might be more suitable.
galbi – marinated beef ribs, always rich and delicious
Marinated short ribs, or Galbi, is is one of my favorite Korean BBQ dishes, and the version at Dae Jang Gum did not disappoint. The beef is grilled to perfection and then cut into smaller pieces for your enjoyment. I like to wrap it in a piece of lettuce with some sauce and a piece of garlic to complete the flavor experience. Good stuff.
Yuki, Horng, & Haze
We usually spend about RM 30+ per person for a wholesome dinner here. Expect to pay a bit more if soju is involved, and alternatively you can order single dishes or go without BBQ meat to stay within a more limited budget. Whatever your decision, don’t forget to order the kimchi jiggae.
Dae Jang Gum Korean Restaurant
20B-2 & 20B-3,
46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.110188, 101.635439
Tel: 03-7957 2613
Daorae Korean BBQ Restaurant is probably no stranger to most who loves Korean food. My first visit to this chain was the USJ Taipan main branch at least 4-5 years ago. I went there again last week when the worms in my gut was starving for some Galbi.
Daorae Korean BBQ Garden at USJ Taipan
I’m not quite sure if this is the very first branch of Daorae, they have branches now at Hartamas, Penang Bayan Point, Kota Damansara, Kepong, Puchong Bandar Puteri, and another new one in PJ (the NZX branch has since closed). When we were there, there was an friendly old Korean guy who looked very much like the owner, and he explained that “Daorae” means many people, which translate to good business.
I must say they chose the right name. Daorae for Korean food is much like the Superdining chains for Japanese food (Rakuzen, Sushi Zanmai, Pasta Zanmai, Kura)
banchan – kimchi, salad, chives, cockles and more!
The one thing I always love about korean food is all the banchan (small dishes). Other than the standard kimchi, you almost always get something different on each visit. On this trip there were cockles, steamed egg in hot pot, salad, chives, fish cake, and more. I think we had some 10 different varieties. You can usually ask for refill too.
galbi (marinated beef), 3 layer pork
For the two of us, I ordered a portion of galbi (marinated beef short ribs) and 3 layer pork for the grill.
As usual, the expertly trained servers did the whole grilling right in front of us. Galbi’s best served with the ssamjang sauce (fermented bean paste & pepper) and wrapped in fresh lettuce. I like to add a piece of grilled garlic too.
The samgyeopsal (three layer pork) was lovely too. Grilled and usually goes either with the same ssamjang or gireumjang sauce (sesame oil and salt). Nothing like some pork to fill the stomach.
kimchi jiggae, Haze
Other than the two grilled meat and those free banchan, I also ordered a portion of kimchi jiggae – a stew with kimchi, tofu, pork, scallion, onion and such. This is typically served with a bowl of fragrant Korean rice, which I like.
It was as usual, a satisfying meal at Daorae, though one that isn’t exactly economical (RM 140) for the two of us, otherwise I’d do it more often. Galllbiiiiiiiii
Daorae Korean BBQ Restuarant
No.8C, Top Speed Business Center,
Jalan USJ 10/1J,
47620 UEP Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.048045, 101.585987